Asked if he was looking forward to seeing Murray and new receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown together – Brown was also absent, although he’s previously attended some of the Phase 2 work – Kingsbury smiled.
“I’ve seen them together live and in person on the other team and it was not fun for me,” Kingsbury said, alluding to his Texas Tech days when the duo played for Oklahoma.
“As a coach, you want to have these guys here all the time but it’s not how the rules are set up,” Kingsbury added. “Different guys handle it different ways.”
The way players approach the voluntary work has morphed some. Safety Budda Baker has been here often – “Now that I am one of the leaders on the team I definitely want to do that because it helps the younger guys kind of get a head start,” he said of showing up – but there have been a number of other veterans aside from Murray who have spent the time working away from Tempe. That included on Monday four offensive line starters from 2021 – D.J. Humphries, Justin Pugh, Rodney Hudson and Kelvin Beachum.
The NFL Players Association made a push last offseason reminding veterans especially they have earned the time away if they so choose. Players like Deebo Samuel and Aaron Donald are among the others who have not yet participated in OTAs.
Last year, with Covid still hanging over players’ heads more intensely than now, many veterans didn’t take part in OTAs either, including Murray, even before his contract concerns.
Ertz said he just wanted to support teammates in however they wanted to prepare, just as he did last year. Baker said he knows wherever Murray is, he is working toward the 2022 season.
“I know when he gets here he will be ready,” Baker said.